Stroll through little known Dixon Woods

A mere 7 minutes from downtown Highlands, Dixon Woods is a gentle, flat, series of public trails along Bowery Road managed and protected by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. In total, Dixon Woods includes over a mile of trails that will keep any avid outdoorsperson entertained.

Dixon Pond may not be jaw dropping, but if you’re looking for small creatures in nature in their habitat, this is a good one to explore.

The trail system is simple to navigate and encircles Dixon Pond. It’s easy in terms of hiking difficulty, but it does not lead to jaw-dropping vistas or raging whitewater cascading over a cliff. Rarely crowded, the trails lead through a forest bustling with life depending on the time of day you visit.

Executive Director Gary Wein said the land was given to the HCLT by former resident Erme Dixon. After Erme retired, it became difficult for her to move around the property.

“After she retired, she couldn’t walk very well and started driving her golf cart through the property,” said Wein. “That’s where the trails came from.”

Lots of twisted trees and vines give the trails in Dixon Woods a soft, moss-covered vibe.

Erme donated the land back in early 2000s and has since passed away, said Wein. The trail system is well maintained, marked, a stays consistent at a steady grade so there’s little to no elevation change as visitors make their way throughout the area.

Editor’s note: As I mentioned earlier, there are no majestic waterfalls or vistas that overlook the mountains, but Dixon Woods is an easily-navigable trail system for the nature nut out to explore anything they can find. There are aquatic and dry habitats with a wide variety of birds, insects, salamanders, snakes, frogs, and other creatures you can see along the trail if you take the time to look.

To reach Dixon Woods head east out of Highlands and take a left on Bowery Road. Drive until you see the HCLT sign on your right. If you reach Split Rail Row on you’re right you’ve gone too far. This seems simple and straightforward, but visitors making their first trek to Dixon Woods really need to keep an eye out for the HCLT sign at the circular-gravel parking area, which was installed last year.

For more info  on HCLT click HERE.

Sometimes the trail turns into stepping from stone to stone. And that’s not even crossing the stream, it’s going with it.

Slow down and take a minute to look around you at the small stuff, some pretty cool things out there.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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